Forum Index > Stewardship > How to get into ONP ~~~ Mission Nearly Impossible.
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onemoremile
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onemoremile
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PostWed Dec 20, 2017 1:42 pm 
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Yeah rumi, it does get annoying seeing how they handle things.  I remember PA was trying to get the ridge road opened on a longer winter schedule.  There were quite a few fundraisers to come up with the money to plow the road, but the park made it so difficult--like starting the plowing at 10 am and not letting anyone up to the ridge until 1 pm.  Or they had a lot of tentative openings and would decide around noon to not open the road.  Most of the people I know that used to be frequent users of the ridge for winter now just go to stevens pass or crystal mountain and sleep in their van as opposed to dealing with the park.  But they have a cool new sign. dizzy.gif

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RodF
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PostWed Dec 20, 2017 5:22 pm 
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trestle wrote:
Rod, do you know if the park is allocated a set amount for roads each year and then determines their own hierarchy for repairs or are the funds for roads and determination of need in the park managed elsewhere?

It's complicated.  Road repairs, road improvements and road maintenance can come from a variety of funding sources, each of which can also cover planning costs.  Planning is done by Park maintenance division, and for major projects by NPS Denver Service Center and FHWA.

Road repairs are funded through various Federal Highway Administration programs, paid for by Federal Highway Trust funds (fuel taxes).  Recent FHWA-funded projects in Olympic NP include Hwy. 101 around Lake Crescent, repaving or chip-sealing ~60 miles of Park roads and parking areas (west side last year, east side the year before), repairing washout on Graves Creek and slumps on Mora and Whiskey Bend Roads.  Also Jefferson County's upper Hoh Road serving the Park.  The Olympic Discovery Trail/Spruce RR Trail tunnels and construction are funded primarily by FHWA, and partially by the county and state.  Re-routing Undi Road to the Bogachiel trailhead was paid by FEMA, FHWA and Jefferson County.

Road and parking area improvement projects can also be funded competitively through the NPS Line Item Construction program, the DOI Deferred Maintenance and Capital Improvement Plan, other national programs, or if they improve specific services by the Park's visitor fee revenue and concession contract franchise fees.  Examples: upgrade parking areas at Hoh Visitor Center, at Log Cabin Resort and at Lyre River trailhead.

Routine road maintenance comes out of the Park's base budget (clearing windfall trees and ditches, snowplowing, grading, signage and kiosks).

Preventative road maintenance can also be accomplished through all the above sources.

The major source of NPS road funding, at Olympic and nationally, is FHWA not NPS.

The problem is that, as any engineer would suggest, and ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  But the FHWA can more easily fund (and apparently NPS can more easily approve?) a pound of cure than an ounce of prevention.  A few dozen tons of rip-rap 3 years ago could've closed the newly forming channel at Elwha CG.  It will cost millions to re-route the road onto an unstable mountainside.

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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RumiDude
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RumiDude
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PostFri Dec 22, 2017 1:11 am 
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RodF wrote:
The problem is that, as any engineer would suggest, and ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  But the FHWA can more easily fund (and apparently NPS can more easily approve?) a pound of cure than an ounce of prevention.  A few dozen tons of rip-rap 3 years ago could've closed the newly forming channel at Elwha CG.  It will cost millions to re-route the road onto an unstable mountainside.

More than just the money, the road will be closed until at least 2022, maybe even longer. As I noted earlier in the thread, this is a major access road into ONP. Families wishing to have a nice hike with a nice destination that smaller kids can go on use this road a lot. They go to Michael's Cabin, Humes Ranch, Krause Bottoms, Goblin Gates, the suspension bridge over the Elwha, and the Hot Springs. These are all used by visiting people from far away as well. Lillian is a popular day hike. The access to Old Lake Mills and other short hikes is cut off. This is also a major entrance and exit point for access to the Bailey Range as well as to Appleton Pass, Boulder Lake, Happy Lake, and the Press Expedition Trail. The road was closed much of the time during the dam removal and combined with other road closures during the last 12 years, it is almost too much to have access cut off for another five years or more.

Rumi

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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Ancient Ambler
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PostFri Dec 22, 2017 11:02 am 
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RumiDude wrote:
The road was closed much of the time during the dam removal and combined with other road closures during the last 12 years, it is almost too much to have access cut off for another five years or more.

I agree.   Rumi, do you have any link to info on this long delay in reopening road access to Whiskey Bend and the Boulder trail?  I recall looking at the ONP Road Conditions page a week or so ago and seeing something about 2021 for reopening these roads, but a glance at that website this AM (12/22/2017) now has nothing about 2021 for reopening those roads.
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trestle
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trestle
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PostFri Dec 22, 2017 11:22 am 
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This from December 6, from Penny Wagner spokesperson for ONP:

Quote:
“Part of this is getting the options out there, doing the research so we could relocate outside the floodplain, modify the road or take no action as an alternative"

They've had over a decade to "get the options" and "doing the research". Why do they need more years?

Quote:
“Over the last two years, we’ve been moving forward on what to do, trying to put things in place to make a change or do whatever needs to happen, whatever is the best decision for the park fiscally.”

They've only made reactionary decisions over the past 2 years.

Quote:
“After the dam removal over the last couple of years, we reacted to flooding and made repairs to a temporary bridge, always at the same time working on getting the planning process started.”

So they took the dam out without even starting the planning process for a revised road, knowing the original was built in the flood plain.

Based on her comments however, it appears the park has chosen the "take no action" option as that was the best fiscal option for them. Now they're stuck trying to explain their lack of action and lack of a plan ready to move forward with. There is simply no reason to need another 4 years to develop a plan for road access up the Elwha and their excuses are wearing thin.  rant.gif

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"Life favors the prepared." - Edna Mode
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cascadetraverser
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cascadetraverser
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PostSat Dec 23, 2017 10:07 am 
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This is unfortunate.  For those of us with families and tight schedules, driving to the west side of the park is not optimal. The Elwha in particular is a great early season destination with plenty of places to get lost.  How far from the trailhead is the road out?
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RumiDude
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PostSat Dec 23, 2017 11:46 am 
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cascadetraverser wrote:
How far from the trailhead is the road out?

I would estimate it is about eight miles from Whiskey Bend and fairly similar mileage to Boulder Creek.

Rumi

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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cascadetraverser
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cascadetraverser
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PostSun Dec 24, 2017 12:34 am 
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Thanks Rumi; how about the Elhwa River Trail?
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mb
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mb
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PostTue Dec 26, 2017 3:59 pm 
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Hey, it's more like de-facto Wilderness now, and thus Good! Wheels Bad! Go travel cross country, you have the same access you had before! No access was Lost!
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RumiDude
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RumiDude
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PostTue Dec 26, 2017 7:22 pm 
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cascadetraverser wrote:
Thanks Rumi; how about the Elhwa River Trail?

Check out the map of ONP and notice where the Elwha Campground is. Right in there is where the river cuts across the road.

There is a trail on the other side of the river that starts at the end of Herrick Road and goes up to near the former Altair Campground. I believe it is called the West Elwha River Trail.

Rumi

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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cascadetraverser
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PostThu Dec 28, 2017 12:08 pm 
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Rumi: Ok thanks. I have overnight camped at the Ehlwa Campground, so it all makes sense.  I will be heading to the NE (Dungeness, Graywolf) or the SE corner (when they fix the Staircase road!!) the the Park for my spring river wanderings.
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Stumblefoot
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PostMon Jan 01, 2018 8:41 pm 
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Hi there, does anyone know if the road is navigable on foot or bike through the washout at this point in time?
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RumiDude
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RumiDude
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PostMon Jan 01, 2018 9:28 pm 
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My understanding is that there is a users trail starting to form going around. There is also a makeshift trail further up the hill. Understand that I have never used either of these but there is a way to get around it. I may even be conflating (or disconflating) two trails which may in fact turn out to be only one trail. But there is at least one way maybe two around this river diversion. You could park at the Madison Falls parking lot and push a bike around the river diversion and ride up to the trailheads if you dare to find a place to stow your bike safely.

Rumi

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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Stumblefoot
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PostWed Jan 03, 2018 7:16 am 
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Thanks Rumi, maybe I'll check it out this weekend.
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Brian Curtis
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Brian Curtis
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PostWed Jan 03, 2018 9:05 am 
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I was up there yesterday. The road is gated about a mile below the washout, just before the pay station. There is a trail that goes up on the hillside so you can bypass the washout. We had to be back early so our time was very limited and we did not go inspect the washed out area. From a distance the bridge looked intact but we couldn't see the current river course beyond the bridge where it washed out. There is still a bit of snow on the bypass trail but nothing that will slow you down.

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that elitist from silverdale wanted to tell me that all carnes are bad--Studebaker Hoch
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